Before I head to bed tonight, I will have reshelved Louis Menand’s The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War (2021) — review here. It moved up in my TBR stack when I registered for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Book Breaks event featuring the author. What an education — the book, of course, and the lecture. I am nearly through another Chief Inspector Gamache title (Louise Penny) and am keeping pace with the Tolstoy Together and 100 Days of Dante groups.
Other books I’ve recently read:
■ The Complete Tales (Beatrix Potter; 2002 edition. Fiction.)
■ God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (Kurt Vonnegut; 1965. Fiction.)
Two of my reading challenges were unmet in August: art and Vonnegut. Now only the Potter biography remains to complete the art category.
■ The Two Noble Kinsmen
■ Henry VIII
Only five remain in my quest to reread all Shakespeare’s plays this year.
■ The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed (Wendy Lower; 2021. Non-fiction.)
Read prior to attending a virtual event at the Gross Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies.
■ The Long Way Home (Louise Penny; 2014. Fiction.)
■ The Nature of the Beast (Louise Penny; 2015. Fiction.)
■ The Great Reckoning (Louise Penny; 2016. Fiction.)
These are not perfect books, but the world Penny has created and the people with whom she has populated it both interest and engage me.
■ The Push (Ashley Audrain; 2021. Fiction.)
Selected on a whim. Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011) covers the same territory far more compellingly.
■ The Optician of Lampedusa (Emma-Jane Kirby; 2016. Fiction.)
For a Cardiff Book Talk program.
■ Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert; 1857 (trans. Lydia Davis; 2010). Fiction.)
With my daughter prior to listening to the terrific podcast by The Readers Karamazov.
But a woman is continually thwarted. Inert and pliant at the same time, she will struggle against both the softness of her flesh and subjection to the law. Her will, like the veil tied to her hat by a string, flutters with every breeze; there is always some desire luring her on, some convention holding her back.
What a gorgeous tree! I have loved the Louise Penny books.
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Even when the plot points become wildly improbable, and favorite characters are (temporarily) reduced to a few familiar phrases, I appreciate the “community” she has created (to say nothing of the history, literature, and art topics she discusses). Good stuff.
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